12th November 2020

Sydney and Parramatta Loyal Association Corps 1800-1810

I’ve been asked to investigate the “Sydney and Parramatta Loyal Association Corps” . These were raised in 1800 in response to concerns of  Irish political prisoners forming a rebellion in the colony.

Thanks to Noble Numismatics: British Universal Pattern shako (hat) plate in brass as worn by the NSW Corps and the Loyal Associations.

The Argus (Melbourne), 2nd January 1915 page 4.

It was the first volunteer corps in the country, initially consisting of 50 men in both Sydney and Parramatta, but rising to 596 over the next couple of years. The men received no pay, but were provided with uniforms similar to those of the New South Wales Corps, as well as provisions, arms and ammunition. Unfortunately, that is all I can find about the uniforms, and no mention at all about the buttons! The buttons may have been plain pewter, as for the NSW Corps. They were ‘dispensed with’ in late 1802, but ‘re-embodied’ in December 1803 by Governor King due to the resumption of war between England and France.

The Sydney Gazette and NSW Advertiser, 11th December 1803, page1.

In March 1804 martial law was declared after escaped Irish convicts planned to establish Irish rule in the colony and capture ships to return to Ireland. The Loyal Association were called out to assume guard duty and to help the troops that went to quell the rebellion at Castle Hill.

Painting of the ‘Convict uprising at Castle Hill’ from the National Gallery. See https://www.nma.gov.au/defining-moments/resources/castle-hill-rebellion   This painting shows the civilians standing behind the soldiers. They don’t appear to be wearing uniforms.

The Sydney Gazette and NSW Advertiser, 27th August 1809, page 1.


The Sydney Gazette and NSW Advertiser, 9th June 1810, page 1.

It was finally disbanded in June 1810 following the arrival of the first of 24 British regiments to serve over the next 60 years (the 73rd Regiment of Foot). The famous John MacArthur was the Captain Commander of the Parramatta Association  in 1805.

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